1935 that is. We were picking peas, beans, and okra on a hot day in August. Watermelon and cantaloupe were growing in the furrowed dark brown loam, waiting to be thumped for ripeness, ready to harvest and place in the bed of the wagon. The wagon was pulled by our two horses, old Maude and Shorty. The setting was our family farm south of Ralls, TX, east of Lubbock. This lush green garden in the lower edge of the cotton field was called “The Truck Patch.” Mother, Daddy, and I were picking the produce, including a big green, striped watermelon. That watermelon would be placed in the cool water of the hog trough and we would have a feast later that day. My little brother, Don was not yet two years old and needed his diaper freshened, so my Mother had walked with him to the yellow farm house. That left the Model A Ford and the wagon with its team of horses still in the truck patch. My Daddy and I were the only two humans and we were at least a mile or more from the house.
November 3, 2020–another election day in the life of this one citizen.
I have voted. That is my only power. I am grateful to live in this country.
I am grateful to my friend of many years, Flint Sparks, who offered this poem for our contemplation on this election day in the United States of America. Written by Maya Angelou and spoken by her on the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations:
This Covid quarantine period of isolation somehow reminds me of my childhood during the great depression , which began the year I was born, 1929. We had little to entertain us, and no communication with the outside world on a daily basis. I learned then and I have re-learned now to live in solitude. I recall the joy of reading, playing the piano, and many hours alone with my imagination. I have come to value that solitude.
April 1, 2020
We live in interesting times! The social distancing required by the spread of COVID-19 has brought many changes in our lives. Since I live alone, the changes are minimal. Yesterday, five of my friends brought our lunches to a lovely golf course adjoining one friend’s home. We set up our chairs six feet apart and had a lively discussion while enjoying the beautiful sunlit day. Blue sky and white fluffy clouds, cool weather and a good time had by all.
October 28, 2018
I have not posted here in several years. I spent the last three years care taking my husband, Dr. Paul Barlow, who passed away July 21, 2018. I have been working through my grief and planning my future.
WHO AM I NOW?
November of 2018, I am reassessing my present reality:
In my lifetime, I have been in roles that were designed because I was born female. I have been a daughter, a sister, a niece, a wife, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, and a great grandmother.
My parents are dead so I am no longer a daughter; my husbands are dead so I am no longer a wife. My brother is thankfully still alive so I am a sister. He has recently re-married so I am again a sister-in-law. My aunts and uncles are dead so I am no longer a niece, but all five of my children are alive so I am still a mother. I have three living grandchildren so I am a grandmother. I have five great-grandchildren and three nephews so I am still a great grandmother and an aunt.
What does it mean to no longer be daughter, wife, niece?
What does it mean to still live the role of mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and great-grandmother?
Strange to me how I have chosen to express my life through these roles. And as I am designing my last decade in this life on the planet, I look to these roles to still define me. OR, is there another role—crone—old wise woman– that I can fulfill?
Where did the therapist, the consultant, the writer, the lecturer, the workshop leader go? What happened to Dr. Marjorie R. Barlow, Ph.D? These roles in my life were part of my professional development and they are now passé.
So, I am back to one. One life. One woman. One day at a time. I choose to be independent as long as I can. I am trying to make the choice of relying on my children or turning to the current care of old folks in institutions. What is the best, most loving choice I can make? Who am I now? What am I now? How do I serve now?
Elizabeth, the Queen of England is a year older than me. Her life has been prescribed because of the nature of her birth. She still has a job as Queen. Therefore, she will live out her days in some form of royal entitlement. She gives me solace in the way her neck and shoulders also are stooped so I am feeling justified in my new body configuration! I too, have become a crone with a widow’s hump.
I was born a peasant. My entitlement is my freedom of choice. I can choose. And that is my truth. So, what do I choose? Answering that question is the focus of my thoughts these days.